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Home > I-9 Laws > Completing I-9 Form Section 2

How to Complete Form I-9 Section 2: Employer Review and Verification

Form I-9 is Required
Every employer must complete a Form I-9 each time it hires any person to perform labor or services in the United States in return for wages or other remuneration. This requirement applies to everyone hired after November 6, 1986.

Employees complete Section 1 of Form I-9 when they begin work. The employer certifies its review of the employee's work authorization documents in Section 2 of Form I-9 within 3 business days of the first workday. If the employer hires a person for less than 3 business days, Sections 1 and 2 of Form I-9 must be fully completed when the employee begins work.

Forms I-9 employment eligibility verification and employer sanctions law compliance is the Employer’s Responsibility. It is unlawful for any employer to "knowingly hire or continue to employ" unauthorized workers. Actual knowledge that the worker is not employment authorized is not required to establish employer liability. Employers are liable for "constructive knowledge" that an employee is not authorized for employment. "Constructive knowledge" may be fairly inferred if through the exercise of reasonable care a person should or would have known that the employee was not authorized for employment; or the employer deliberately fails to investigate the facts.

It is critical that not only the company’s Employer Sanctions Compliance Manager (often an "HR supervisor" or "bookkeeper" thoroughly understands not only how to properly complete Forms I-9, but also that company owners, executives, managers, and supervisors understand lawful Form I-9 employment eligibility verification practices and procedures. Companies and individuals face civil fines and criminal penalties, including imprisonment if their Forms I-9 documents are not properly completed, and retained.

How to Properly Complete Form I-9 Section 2: Employer Review and Verification
The employee must present to the Employer Sanctions Compliance Manager an original document or documents that establish identity and employment authorization within 3 business days of the date employment begins. Some documents establish both identity and employment authorization (List A Documents). Other documents establish identity only (List B Documents) or only employment authorization (List C Documents). The employee chooses which document(s) s/he wants to present from the Lists of Acceptable Documents. This list appears in Part Eight and on the last page of Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification.

The Employer Sanctions Compliance Manager examines the original document or documents the employee presents, then fully completes Section 2 of Form I-9. The Employer Sanctions Compliance Manager must examine one document from List A, OR one from List B AND one from List C.

The Employer Sanctions Compliance Manager records the title, issuing authority, number, and expiration date (if any) of the document(s); fills in the date of hire and correct information in the certification block; and signs and dates the Form I-9. The Employer Sanctions Compliance Manager must accept any document(s) from the Lists of Acceptable Documents presented by the individual that reasonably appear on their face to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them. The Employer Sanctions Compliance Manager may not specify which document(s) an employee must present.

If the employer participates in the E-Verify Program, the Employer Sanctions Compliance Manager may only accept List B documents that bear a photograph.
Documents not acceptable for I-9 verification include:
(1) Social Security Card with “Not eligible for employment without DHS authorization” or “Not valid for employment” written on it;
(2) Laminated Social Security Cards that say “Not valid if laminated” on the back;
(3) Unofficial copies of a birth certificate; (4) Any fax.

How to properly complete Form I-9 Section 2Section 2: Employer Review and Verification
Employer records document title(s), issuing authority, document number, and the expiration date from original documents supplied by employee. See Part Eight for the Lists of Acceptable Documents.
{You may use abbreviations for commonly used documents, e.g., DL for driver’s license and SS for Social Security.}

Employer enters date employment began.

Employer attests to examining the documents provided by filling out the signature block.

The Employer Sanctions Compliance Manager must know what to do when an employee presents a "receipt" for a document. In certain circumstances, if the employee presents a “receipt” the employer must accept it in lieu of a List A, List B, or a List C document.

A receipt indicating that an individual has applied for initial employment authorization or for an extension of expiring employment authorization is NOT acceptable proof of employment authorization on Form I-9. Receipts are never acceptable if employment lasts less than 3 business days.

The chart below indicates receipts that must be accepted.

Receipts that should be accepted as I-9 documents
When the employee provides an acceptable receipt, the employer should record the document title in Section 2 of the Form I-9, and write the word “receipt” and its document number in the “Document #” space. When the employee presents the actual document, the employer should cross out the word “receipt” and any accompanying document number, and, inserts the number from the actual document presented and initial and date the change.

The receipt rule only applies if: the individual is already work-authorized; the work authorization has not expired; and the individual is awaiting the necessary documents to complete Form I-9, such as a copy of a lost identity document or evidence of existing work authorization.

There are three instances in which receipts are acceptable for verification purposes. Specifically, a receipt must be accepted if:

  1. The receipt indicates that an application for a replacement List A, B or C document has been submitted because the document was lost, stolen, or damaged—in this case, the actual document must be presented within 90 days following the date of hire.
  2. The receipt is a temporary I-551 stamp on a Form I-94— in this case, the stamp serves as a receipt for Form I-551 which must be submitted before the expiration date listed on the temporary I-551 stamp or within one year from the date of issuance of the Form I-94 when the I-551 stamp does not list an expiration date); or
  3. >The receipt is a refugee admission stamp on a Form I-94—in this case, Form I-94 serves as a receipt for either an employment authorization card, Form I-766, an employment authorization document, Form I-688B, or a Social Security card one of which must be submitted within 90 days after the date of hire).


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